Last year, Amazon introduced lockers in grocery, convenience and drugstore locations in Seattle, New York state and the Washington, D.C. area. On Tuesday (Aug. 7), the company announced it would roll out similar lockers in other cities across the country, reported Greg Bensinger of the Wall Street Journal.
“By adding the lockers, Amazon is addressing the concerns of some urban apartment dwellers who fear they'll miss a delivery or have their items stolen from their doorstep,” Bensinger wrote.
From the look of this service, Amazon has thought of everything. They email a code to the buyer that unlocks the door at a nearby locker. There is no extra fee for service, unlike with UPS or FedEx. They reduce failed delivery and increase customer loyalty.
From a consumer perspective, this sounds like a fantastic service. I've had my share of missed package deliveries, which meant having to go to the post office/FedEx office to pick it up, so I would definitely try this new service out. It seems like Amazon is looking at the pain points throughout the entire e-commerce shopping experience, and trying to ease those frustrations.
I don't think this will be welcome news for physical retailers. With the growing concerns of “showrooming” among brick-and-mortar retailers, Amazon becoming more convenient and reliable actually increases the showrooming threat. By putting these lockers inside other company's stores, Amazon has essentially created a physical retail presence without having to launch a full line of retail locations.
What can traditional retailers do to compete with Amazon’s improved service and delivery? It all comes down to delivering a great customer experience, and that's the best way that traditional retailers can compete with this new model from Amazon. Whether that means providing more convenient locations, improving the checkout process with things like mobile payments, giving customers access to more product information through the use of interactive screens, or even just hiring nicer salespeople, traditional retailers will need to strive to offer a better shopping experience than what customers can get through Amazon.